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Question

# Explain why electric current is not a vector quantity.

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Solution

## Current is a scalar quantity. For any physical quantity to be a vector, not only it should have direction and magnitude but it should also obey the law of vector addition. Consider two wires A and B carrying equal currents, X amperes, placed at 90 degrees to each other. Now place another wire C at the junction of wires A and B. If you measure the current passing through wire C, the current will be 2X amperes. If current was a vector quantity, the current which you measured would have been X√2 amperes according to the law of vector addition. But the resultant current is 2X amperes. As current does not obey the law of vector addition, it is not a vector but a scalar quantity.

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